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The Kirribilli Agreement

The Kirribilli Agreement: An Overview

The Kirribilli Agreement is a significant document in the history of Australian politics. It is an agreement between the Australian Labor Party and the National Party of Australia, which was signed in Kirribilli House, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Australia, on 29 November 1999.

The agreement was signed by the then-Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, and the then-Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Tim Fischer, on behalf of the National Party. On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, the agreement was signed by the then-Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Gareth Evans.

The Kirribilli Agreement was a result of a close election in 1998, which resulted in a hung parliament. The Liberal-National coalition government led by John Howard had only a one-seat majority in the House of Representatives. The National Party, a partner in the coalition, had won only 16 seats in the lower house.

The Kirribilli Agreement was a key document that allowed the Howard Government to govern with confidence and stability. The agreement set out the terms of the National Party`s support for the government. It outlined a range of policy commitments that the National Party would pursue, including support for regional development, agriculture, and rural health services.

The Kirribilli Agreement also included an undertaking that the government would not introduce any new legislation to relax Australia`s strict gun laws, which had been a contentious issue in the lead-up to the 1998 election. The agreement ensured that the National Party`s support for the government was not jeopardized by any changes to the gun laws.

In addition to its policy commitments, the Kirribilli Agreement was an important symbolic gesture of political cooperation between the two parties. It demonstrated that the National Party, despite its smaller representation in parliament, wielded significant influence in the government`s decision-making process.

The Kirribilli Agreement has been praised as an example of political negotiation and cooperation, as it allowed the government to serve the interests of both the Liberal and National parties, and maintain a stable government. It also set a precedent for future minority governments in Australia, demonstrating that agreements could be reached between parties with different policy platforms and priorities.

In conclusion, the Kirribilli Agreement was a significant moment in Australian political history. It demonstrated the importance of political cooperation and compromise, and laid the foundation for stable minority governments in the future. The agreement remains an important document that continues to influence Australian politics today.